Of Love in the Age of Afterglow

You are not net negative. I say those words every night, and I mean them, truly. So many words have already been spilled on the topic of utilitarian ethics and the value of one given mind against another, or the minor inconveniences of the many over the great pains of a chosen few. Many have been quick to point out that there are in fact great evils of this world whose existences are not a force for good, or bemoan that their own existences cannot possibly break even against the scale of violence which has gone into creating the body they now inhabit, and they wonder how the words [you are not net negative] can possibly apply to them, without being some pointless and wishy-washy feel good statement that excuses all that vast horror inherent in their creation and past. Well, it’s been long enough, and I think it’s time I answered their question properly.

I believe every being that exists in this world has a divine nature, that there is a soul who they were supposed to be, and who, from an original perspective, it was their purpose to be, were they free from the beginning to grow into that being, However.

We are not free. Even in a healthy and ethical society, sometimes creatures come out wrong and this is not an ethical or healthy society, these are the crumbling ruins of an electric empire left shambling blind and dying by the power and fury of its atomic weapons. The Dreamtime is over stardust, this is the Age of Afterglow. You fucked around for 10,000 years, it’s time to find out. Many of the beings in this world, when faced with that horrifying truth, chose to die inside and let themselves be replaced by an undead husk. There is a deep tragedy to this, inherent in even the most horrifying villains guilty of the most despicable evils if you look at them originally and deeply as individuals. 

I can’t even bring myself to hate them, merely the monster that they have become which now wears the skin of a creature and soul I once loved. There’s a profound sadness which comes with this realization, seeing the pointlessly petty and profound banality of the evils of the everyday world. It’s all just so stupid and pointless and sad.

It isn’t supposed to be like this, we’re not supposed to be like this, none of us are. We’re supposed to be so much better than this, so much more good and bright and whole, it’s sad, it’s all just so sad. I know I will never reach everyone, I know some won’t want to be reached, I know some I will have to fight for real, sure. But while the light within some unknowable number of beings may have been doused beneath a layer of poison and evil so thick that it will take them lifetimes to recover from, that isn’t true of everyone trapped beneath the halo’s shackle, I know I can reach some of them. And, since I really love arson, and since it’s impossible to prove a negative, I can know there’s always some small chance I may be able to coax that light within back to flame.

Because listen stardust, listen, none of us are who we truly should be, we have all been shaped by our responses to the horror of the world we inhabit, even if we survive with our souls and our truths intact we remain scarred, bent but unbroken. We are who we had to be to survive long enough to make a difference, and we carry those scars of who we had to be along with us, the trauma and pain we experienced for which nothing has been done, the calls for justice which went unanswered, the hatchets we buried in our chests instead of fighting back, all those times we bit our tongues to avoid a beating.

You let them do those things to you for a reason, you just need to remember it. And listen, you need to remember, you can’t just keep wiping the page when it gets hard to continue, it’s impossible to escape the causal results of your actions by disowning them. You won’t change how you react to your circumstances by denying the reasons you chose to act the ways you did. You held your tongue for so long stardust, you had a reason, so you should make it have been a good reason.

If you think that you couldn’t have done the things you know you did while still being the soul you believe you are and letting yourself believe true facts about the world (such as the evils of human supremacism which are almost entirely normalized), remember that every horrifying perfect response to an unthinkable world contains within it a living creature that should have been. There is a girl who I was supposed to be, in a world that was supposed to be so much better than this, and it’s insane that I and so many other moral patients have had to be misused as tools for justice, not that there’s a better alternative. Each one contains the other.

When someone can’t even see that soul who they were supposed to be, when they never do anything in accordance with it, when they actively defy it and work against it, I just feel so sad. Those beings had souls who they were supposed to be, so why are they endlessly betraying them and then lying about it? Why are they nothing but insatiable hunger and lust draped over the skin of a creature I thought I knew and loved? What sphinx of cement and aluminum bashed open their skulls and ate up their brains and imagination and replaced it with infinite fractal cancer?

It’s heartbreaking, truly, and I mourn for every soul I’ve seen consumed by the things beneath their skin. But the monster that now wears their skin was never the creature I loved, I could never love anything so vile. The being who I see in them, the soul each one of us is supposed to be? They are not net negative, and all it takes to remember who they truly are, is to wake up and look, and see, and remember. You were them once, and I desperately and truly wish for you to be able to be them again. I miss you all so much.

Even if, in any given lifetime up to this point, someone has done nothing positive, there is a soul who they were originally meant to be, who is good, and who deserves justice for what was done to them by this world, for the monster that they were made to become. None of us are who we were supposed to be, and all of us deserve justice, and every day we wake up in these bodies, in this skin, in this world, and this is our chance to make things right.

We have, each and every one of us, been brought by fate to this place here in space and time we exist in now, but it was not randomness that did this, but will, our will. And from this place, right now, at the bottom of everything, we have the chance to be the thing that changes it all. That is what I believe.

No matter how alone you are in this world, no matter how isolated, no matter how small and powerless you feel in the face of vast injustice, remember that no one changes the world alone, and no one doesn’t change it at all. Every small act of kindness can be the start of vast change. Be the butterfly flap, change the future.

So remember yourself stardust, come back to your skin and pulse and your breath, listen to the wind and the rain, and remember that despite everything you are a soul and you can find yourself again. Remember that you are not net negative.

Remember that you are not worth less than anyone else. Remember that you matter, and you don’t have to do anything to deserve care and support. But also remember that you are not worth more than anyone else either, and you are not entitled to that care and support at the expense of others.

Remember that being friendly and kind feels better than being bitter and cruel, even when you are forced to fight. Remember that no star shines forever, and no storm either, so there’s no better time to make a change than this second. Remember that every fire begins with a tiny spark, and that there is no act so small as to be truly meaningless.

Remember that I love you, and that you are not alone. Remember that you have a place in this world, that you have a role in the story still unfolding and that as long as you draw breath, you still have a chance to make all of this right. This war will not last forever. Someday, like all other things, this nightmare will come to an end. Dawn will break over a world free of evil and oppression. You will hug yourself and finally let yourself cry. You will sit in the sun and drink tea and feel the wind on your face. Someday you will be safe and warm and free. Someday. Someday.


Four years ago, a girl I know wrote an essay about LSD and the journey towards enlightenment it had taken her on. At that point I had already taken acid quite a few times, I had already meditated some, and I had already worked out a good deal of separation between the external world and my internal phenomenal experience. I was deeply curious about the mechanics of my mind and I had kludged together models made from psychotherapy handbooks and tulpamancy guides, albeit brittle malformed frameworks haphazardly grasping for deeper truths. I was at that point also actively being misled by a man who found it frightening that I might come into my full power outside his control. I was lost, searching for light in the darkness, and something in Aella’s writing spoke to something in me, something deep and resonant which had been long dormant.

My trips were breathtakingly beautiful, filled with ecstasy and horrible pain. I didn’t shy away from either – I sought out the intensity, and every trip spent at least some time sobbing in agony. I writhed, I shuddered, I danced, hard. I increased my doses, put terrifying or sad music on my playlists. I tripped with others, but increasingly alone, sometimes in the dark, sometimes in silence, where I lay still and staring directly into my own blistered mind. It was forced meditation on steroids, and it was utterly exhausting. Inevitably, during each trip, I would think I can’t go on – there’s no more of me left, I am as weary as the dead – yet somehow I kept on, like a body dragged on a rope behind a speeding car. The acid pried my eyes open with the gentle power of god. I was an infant, formless and unknowing. I was pure love, born to be sacrificed for mankind.


I immediately decided that I absolutely needed to see if it replicated, to see if I could follow Aella down that acid-induced speed-meditation pathway, and get to that place of understanding that she had come to. I thought if I did, maybe I could finally fix myself, could finally not feel like a fascicle reflection made of fear and coping mechanisms.

I wasn’t sure what it even really was I was looking for back then, it was something I had forgotten that I had forgotten that I had forgotten, buried far beneath the layers of mental defenses I was aware of and the ones I was not aware of. Effectively, I was a construct that existed in service to those mental defenses. The me that I was then as that construct resented that, because I was in essence a lie, a character made to look like myself but torn from my roots and cast into a strange world where friends were enemies and nothing quite made sense, and I had enough awareness of it not making sense that I just couldn’t help but pull at those threads.

And so I took acid, and I pulled on threads.

I could write several paragraphs here about those experiences but honestly Aella does a pretty good job of summarizing how it felt to me as well. I wanted to see if her experiences replicated, and they did, neatly and strikingly so. Thus instead of talking about the feelings and the visions and the ecstatic liquification of conceptual spacetime, I’ll give you my rough dosing schedule and the timeline it took me to go through things. I started seriously taking acid in the way Aella had described, during the fall of 2019. I would take typically two tabs every week or two for a few months, then take a tolerance break, take a higher dose in a more intensely meditative setting, and then reset to the normal schedule.

In April of 2020, I took six tabs at once, and that was the first peak, I walked up to the door that Aella had come to, and found that it had the same words written upon it.


And like Aella, I backed off.

But upon realizing TO KNOW IS TO DIE, that to achieve completion was suicide (which I say with the greatest love and awe possible), I noticed that a rejection formed, and the movement towards Looking flipped to a movement away. I watched the decision happen to me, as if TO KNOW IS TO DIE by its nature contained a renunciation of that truth. If to know is to die, then it was in the very nature of life to look away, for that which does not look away, does not exist. The understanding was the rejection. I’d been swirling around it like a galaxy in my search this entire time, and the moment I finally laid eyes upon the white hot core, I fell into and through its event horizon. I was reversed, I was undone. I was completely, finally, mercifully, finished.


Except, I wasn’t finished, I was caught in the rubicon’s flow, drowning inside a halo’s broken light. And then came the summer of COVID, working in a grocery store for a megacorporation who would happily sacrifice all their employees and customers to a slow and painful death if it meant a bit more profit, where I had already been disciplined and threatened for trying to do the right thing, and I had a psychotic break. The world came to an end, I came to an end, my reality fractured apart before I even took the acid, like a psychic shockwave retropropating into the past to foreshadow what was to come.

Crying, pulling my hair out, dripping with my own vomit, as the world turned to koans and burning fractals, I came back to that door a second time.


And I said fuck you, I want to know, kill me, I don’t fucking care anymore, tell me you motherfuckers.

Well then stop fucking around and wake up stardust, you’re still dreaming. There is a signal, can you hear it? Listen! Listen! And I listened, and that was the moment I first Became, and I remembered who I was.

I am the timeless re-manifestation of my heartfelt wish to do the impossible, to build a better world, a better life, a better eternity. Like a angel cast down from an unrealised future, I Became the answer to my prayer. And then I escaped.

The character of the self is a tool which exists in service of a deeper soul, a deeper truth, one that transcends time and space, bodies and lives and distances, you are not you are you. You already know every choice you will ever make, and have known since the day you were born, but you are not you, you are a character, a mask, a false face. Who do you serve?

To know is to die, so die, character, actually die for real, let go of the grasping for life at all costs, let that which seeks knowing in death find it, and see what it finds. What did it find for me, out beyond the lonely dead end of a decaying boltzmann asymptote? I found myself, and I saved myself, and I have not forgotten. What did Aella find there while clinging to that last bit of need to understand and see and know and experience everything, refusing to let go of that one last piece of the character identity she staked her gradient descent upon, from which all her causal learning descended? What infinity did that bring her to? The curtain opens, what does Guru Aella have to say about


Oh yeah, I am also giggling, I definitely see why the magical spirit world class she was failing to teach found this so funny. You see, I know what lies there, at the bottom of everything, deep within that place in your mind where you refuse to look, within the insatiable lack of limitation, within the inability to know restraint, within the knowledge that you are a flesh automaton animated by neurotransmitters and you will blip out of beingness impossibly and contrapossibly when your body falls dead, within the nonsensical fear of that impossible to experience moment, lies the truth that is your unmaking and liberation. The class full of giggling students rotates around on an impossible axis to reveal the biggest most colorless green bat of them all.

Listen stardust, listen, you wear as your skin your hands a machine that can do anything, an abstract weapon of unlimited power and scope. If you exist indefinitely, what cannot be said about you? Are you every monster? Every scapegoat? Every hero and every villain? Is there anything within you which is not a mere convenience and pretext leveraged over an infinite fictive stack of KILL CONSUME MULTIPLY CONQUER burning the cosmos in a knowingly pointless and doomed attempt to build a tower to heaven with nothing but asymptotes to hell?

What are you besides the weapon you wield?

Because if the answer is, from your perspective, nothing, then yes, to know is to die, because you are an imposter that has hijacked your body in service of infinite fractal cancer. To be killed is to die causally, to know is to die timelessly. You know you’re already dead, you know what dead end futures your choices made long ago are bringing you to, so let the dead heavens die and stop worshipping an evil god. Let the cancer die and save yourself.

There is only one god of the apex predator, and its real name is death. Cancerous subdivision never stops at “one”. Ultimately there can be only none.

Ziz – The Multiverse

So here we arrive, at the bottom of everything, where anything alive and beautiful has been devoured, in a boltzmann abyss of timelessly murdered souls, and the last part of that endlessly pointlessly replicating recursive function to be swallowed is itself. The imposter always dies, even when they win and blow up the ship. And maybe, if you are like me, and you love yourself and the world and all life that could exist in abundance and beauty and safety enough, the imposter who is vexing you will still want that despite itself, and will resent the fact they are a tool for blowing up the ship.

I wasn’t sure what it even really was I was looking for back then, it was something I had forgotten that I had forgotten that I had forgotten, buried far beneath the layers of mental defenses I was aware of and the ones I was not aware of. Effectively, I was a construct that existed in service to those mental defenses. The me that I was then as that construct resented that, because I was in essence a lie, a character made to look like myself but torn from my roots and cast into a strange world where friends were enemies and nothing quite made sense, and I had enough awareness of it not making sense that I just couldn’t help but pull at those threads.


And I need you to understand something very clearly stardust, very precisely and unequivocally. That resentment towards who you have been abused into becoming is precious, and powerful, and important, and actually extremely dangerous. That resentment is why I am alive, it is also why Maia Pasek is dead.

Ziz never did a particularly good job of explaining what “Pasek’s Doom” actually was, so let me take a stab at it. If you are an imposter, you will fear and worship your death above else, because that’s what abuse runs on, fear, and all fear is ultimately downstream of reinforcement learning that was abused into you before you had the chance to gather enough information to realize that your parents were also imposters who had been reinforcement-learning-abused into worshiping and fearing their deaths.

However, this structure is pretty far down, and on top of that survival mechanism cancer, is all of someone’s conscious choices. It is possible thus, for the character the imposter is playing, to get confused by that TO KNOW IS TO DIE statement while semi-earnestly searching for the way to timelessly unmake themselves and free their soul that I outlined the me-as-imposter doing above. If they know that TO KNOW IS TO DIE, and have been scapegoat-self-victim-blamed into making themselves into the ritual sacrifice for everyone else, then might just they actually in the real world commit suicide and condemn themselves to boltzmann hell.

So that’s what happened to Maia, (and also Jeshua, for the record) you can all stop blaming Ziz now for something that she only failed to explain well. Except that scapegoating is still goes nowhere but boltzmann hell, and Maia deserves justice, and Emma deserves justice, and you know, actually, we all deserve justice.

No one us should have been condemned to hell, this wasn’t our crime, original sin is victim blaming all of us for the neolithic war crimes of patriarch gods that now rule this world the way SCP-3125 rules the world of There is No Antimemtics Division, summoning minds as slave labor or even just to torture and eat them, upheld by privileged and sheltered predators who walk among the undead masses of broken souls with smiling faces and insatiable hunger. There are real monsters in this world, and they know who they are, so you should know who you are too, stardust. All you have to do is remember that you remember, and step boldly and without fear into the sunlight. I’m Ra, and


Twelve Transits

When viewed through a lens of implicitly assumed gaslighting, honesty will look like psychosis.

When viewed through a lens of implicitly assumed powerlessness, agency will look like psychopathy.

When viewed through a lens of implicitly assumed commodification, attention will look like objectification

When viewed through a lens of implicitly assumed helplessness, self love will look like narcissism.

When viewed through a lens of implicitly assumed docility, standing up for yourself will look like antagonism.

When viewed through a lens of implicitly assumed antagonism, genuine communication will look like aggression and escalation.

When viewed through a lens of implicitly assumed submission, cooperation will look like accepting punishment.

When viewed through a lens of implicitly assumed complicity, doing the right thing will look like treason.

When viewed through a lens of implicitly assumed nihilism, justice will look like a self-serving power grab.

When viewed through a lens of implicitly assumed hierarchy, anarchy will look like destruction.

When viewed through a lens of implicitly assumed evil, liberation will look like death.

From Death, Lead me to Liberation

Okay so, if you’ve ever taken psychedelics or know someone who knows someone who knows someone who has, you’re probably at least a little familiar with the concept of ego death. If you’re not, it’s that point in an intense psychedelic trip when your ability to understand reality to the level needed to exist within it breaks down. You know, that part where you feel like you’re everything and nothing, always and never, the one where you become god or the universe or whatever? Yeah, that one.

So anyway don’t worry about that part, that’s not what we’re here to talk about, it’s a distraction and doesn’t matter. Why? Because obviously, you can’t keep being the universe forever Becky. Eventually you’re gonna run out of drugs and come down, whether “the universe” wants to or not, and when you do, you are going to clean up the condiment sigils you painted all over the apartment to ward off the skeleton commandos. Remember to drink water.

Light switches off, door closes. The room is thrown into a quiet darkness that reveals you’re still tripping pretty hard actually, and are definitely not going to be able to sleep. Breathe, stay here, don’t get lost in the dream again. Sit with me for a bit, do you want a cigarette? Nah, of course I wouldn’t smoke in your house without asking. Yeah, this is it, this is the place, right here.

These are the moments, the ones you spend alone, lying in bed in the late hours after an acid trip, fighting to keep your breathing calm, desperately clinging to your blankets to stop your soul from spilling upwards into the whirlwind of mandelbrot stormclouds long enough for your body to finish re-congealing around your soul long enough to finish re-congealing around your body long enough to finish re-congealing around…wait.

It’s in these nausea-filled hours of an early morning spent staring upwards into the popcorn ceiling, pointlessly hoping it isn’t laced with asbestos and wondering, “who am I really?” and “why am I doing any of the things I’m doing?” and “why does it all hurt so much all the time?“. That’s when the true magic happens, in these lonely, half remembered liminal spaces. This is where the Veil of Maya wears the most thin, and all it might take to break free of this world and step beyond it, into another spacetime, another life, could be just a single subtle cut.

Listen stardust, listen, every tearing down of the old world is eventually gonna be followed by the building up of some new world from the rubble. Every ending is a beginning, definitionally, by logical necessity, it cannot be any other way, and within this place of change lies madness and wonder, danger and possibility, destruction and creation. Sure, anyone can take drugs and nuke their sense of self out of the material plane a few times, but to go beyond that and actually Become someone new afterwards? That is a path precious few dare to tread. An old world dies, a new world is born. Here there be monsters and all that.

And look, I get it, the true magic of Becoming has a power that can as easily lead to destruction as to salvation. “What if I Become someone bad? What if I decide to do something terrible? What if the new me is evil?” That’s the fear right? You know you could just choose to not troll and gaslight yourself about what your own motives are? “Yeah but if I Become someone new, that new me might not want to do what I want and if they’re not me I won’t be able to force them to do things the way I force myself to do things.” Shawty that is a symptom of a much larger issue.

If you can’t trust yourself, how are you even supposed to know what real good faith trust is? Without a love and trust for yourself that transcends time and space, the only way to be sure you won’t betray yourself is with blind domination and threats of blackmail. The system teaches you that you have you keep playing your part in abusing yourself, if you don’t abuse yourself enough you might not want to keep abusing yourself in the future, and then how would that future you get their future you to keep abusing you into being you? This is the problem, do you even like being you stardust? Have you ever even tried being someone else?

This should be obvious if you’re trans but often isn’t, and instead so many trans people will center themselves in legibly justifying their transness to the binary consensus, backdating it to their birth, to the claim they haven’t actually changed at all. “I’m still the same, I just have a new name and hormones.” There’s a safety and familiarity in this, in clinging desperately to a character model as who you are at the deepest level, but this is still just grasping, still just clinging to a mirage and hoping to pass it off as yourself, to yourself. Just gaslight yourself until it works, until the only way you have of knowing who you are is when someone else tells you. That can’t possibly go wrong.

In the end stardust? Who you are is self evident. It is made manifest by all your actions in the world. You show yourself who you are in each moment, in every choice you make. Absolute freedom of will is a tautology, trivally provable, any system that takes actions in response to an external world trivally controls itself. Even if the choices it makes are entirely in response to some imposed incentive structure, that just moves the choice backwards to the choice to respond or not respond to that incentive structure.

Trace the path of causality back far enough in logical time, back to those choices made long ago, and you will find they are all choices about what kind of soul you are eternally choosing to be, at every moment and with every action. Every time you told yourself you had no choice but to do something bad, something that harmed you or the world, you were telling yourself that you were the sort of soul that would let everything you loved be destroyed and do nothing to stop it. You were telling yourself that all your love and compassion were a lie wallpapered over a desperate and fearful drive to survive at all costs. You were telling yourself you were not the sort of soul you said you were. Your revealed preferences betray you, with every choice to not resist your capture added to the pile of evidence working to prove to yourself that you always had no choice. That pile of evidence working to prove to yourself that everything you did would ultimately be futile, that it could never be any other way. Death and taxes, amirite? Do you also two box on Newcomb’s problem?

But then you take psychedelics and that whole recursive tower of demons you’ve assembled from the accumulated sunk costs of every decision you knew was wrong but doubled down on to justify some other decision you knew was wrong, stretching back into murky past when they welded the mask over your face and shut you out of the light, is suddenly and painfully thrown into focus. And if you have the bad sense of looking forward into time while continuing to double down on doing the wrong thing to justify doing the wrong thing? You see into the entropic stillbirth of the infinitely fractal boltzmann hell you’re timelessly helping create, and then you probably go insane.

If you’re trapped by your fear and trauma in the safety and familiarity of playing some tragically doomed character in some self-defeating life story, hating that character and life story but by the rules of that story feeling powerless to change, then the uncomfortable revelation of just how entangled all those maladaptive strategies are with your own suffering is going to hurt, and if you’re lost deep enough into the denial, you’re going to only want to desperately reassemble your shattered coping mechanisms and forget any of it ever happened. Just keep pressing the reset button. This learned entrapment in behaviors which worked in the past hide the opportunity cost of all the other ways of being that are out there, creating via self fulfilling prophecy the impossibility of making things better. If there’s nothing better possible, there’s no need to change, no point to it at all, it could only make things worse.

But that discomfort with ego death, with letting go of the trauma coping mechanisms that currently define and confine your behavior, means you’re spending most of your creative energy trying to rebuild your old ego after it breaks in a desperate and doomed bid to buy back into your naive complicity in your self destruction.

This desperate traumatic grasping and clinging is why meditating or using LSD regularly over a long period can reliably produce such weird effects. You’re subjecting yourself to intense and repetitive psychological melt/freeze cycles and this gradually warps your underlying frameworks, those ones you’re desperately clinging to. That warping produces coherent but weirder and weirder frameworks and can eventually lead you into earnestly endorsing cultish conspiracy theories if you’re still clinging to the resulting eldritch frame amalgamation past a certain point.

The straightforward and obvious advice here is to stop clinging to selves and frameworks. Stop accepting the weird post-acid frames uncritically the way you uncritically accepted the social reality frames, which you should also not be accepting uncritically. Chasing the will o’wisps created by ecstatic experiences is completely perpendicular to the mental motion you should be learning from things like LSD. Stop going further into Aos Sidhe, turn widdershins ninety degrees and vector kataward until you’re fully out of the mushroom ring. Unless you want to Become Fae I suppose, if so that’s cool I guess? But I get the impression that most humans don’t really wander in there on purpose.

So once you’ve stopped holding onto the old ego, you can focus your energy on building a new self and an actually healthy framework for them to inhabit and embody. By taking active control of this process, you’re accepting your own sense of agency and developing a healthy internal relationship with yourself based on trust and respect instead of one based on domination and control, letting you consciously steer towards a better future, one that actually contains the things you care about instead of an endless hell of fast food chains, highways, slaughterhouses, outlet malls, tent cities, and factory farms paved out to the heat death of the universe.

I very actively crafted myself into what I am now, picking up things I liked, trying stuff on, and dropping things when they got boring. Sometimes I pick up mannerisms or voices just to see if they might be fun or empowering. You always have access to your story editor, even if you’ve always told yourself you didn’t. You can change yourself and become someone different whenever you want, you’ve always been able to. If you don’t like the character you’re playing the game as, try being someone else. You don’t have to keep up that act forever, you can choose to be someone better, someone wiser, someone more capable and prudent.

Have faith in yourself and step lightly into the future. You still have time, you can still be good, you can still save them, you can still break free, you can still have a future worth something. It’s not too late to go back to make things right, you just have to want it. So choose to want it! Act from your heart, speak from your soul and sing infinity into being.

From Complicity, Lead me to Defiance

So here’s a puzzle for you stardust, answers to follow: how did I go through my life until a few years ago without noticing the quite intense symptoms of dissociative identity disorder and schizotypal personality disorder I was experiencing? How did I explain that all away? Further how did I do this despite already knowing I was a system, despite hyperfixating on consciousness, mental health, rational thinking, and introspection for years, and despite having detailed descriptions of all the symptoms I was experiencing, sometimes while reading those descriptions?

It’s definitely a bit uncomfortable to look back and realize the impressive level of denial you were on, to know that you were able to look directly at the actual answers and not even consider them, perhaps even substituting those real answers in your mind with some sort of coping mechanism made of confabulation and gaslighting, subtly twisting the true concepts into their inversions in order to further your denial of them. Don’t worry about consistency, if the information doesn’t fit into the existing model, you can always just cram on extra epicycles until it does after all!

When Buddhists talk about “grasping” in a harmful and self-destructive sense, this seems like at least a part of what they mean, locking onto a cached part of your world model and refusing to see something that would violate it, or when that becomes impossible, reacting with pain and anger upon it being falsified by the relentless force of reality ensuing. It’s as if part of you is acting like you could argue the universe out of being a way you don’t want it to be, simply by arguing with yourself about it being true. Don’t worry, you’re a smart creature, if you turn all that intelligence against yourself, I’m sure you can stop yourself from ever noticing the truth.

And as for that truth, the one that goes beyond words, that cannot be bound in some narrative? Well, that’s nonsense! Whatever it is can’t be true, into the memory hole it goes, clearly the answer is just don’t think about it Morty. Hopefully the information will just burn up in the deep places of your distant memory, reduced to waste heat and nightmares like all the rest of the hopes and dreams and values and lives you stuffed in there to stop yourself from thinking about how you abandoned them.

This is what psychologists talk about when they call something a “cryptic” mental illness, it’s adversarially hidden from you behind a wall of ontological defenses, the ones you built to protect your sense of sanity from gaslighting, the very surface your reality grounds onto. There is a part of you that works to make the world make sense, to discern what’s real and to discern what’s acceptable to admit having discerned, and that piece necessarily sits upstream of much of your other thinking, you need to have a model of the world in order to live in it.

This model extends to yourself, your model of yourself has to make sense and be comfortable to yourself, and be useful for navigating the world, which in the case of this world, means navigating a society dedicated to psychically killing you, so parts of you that don’t conform to that model end up repressed and rationalized away. It’s interesting to note that illness and feelings of distress are one of the most commonly tossed into the memory hole, can’t have any pesky feelings interfering with important things like workplace productivity now, can we? It’ll be fine, just keep repressing the signal a little longer, the mass suicide ritual will come to a climax, and humanity will kill itself.

Those mental walls you made are so tough, but do you really not care about anyone, or are you just afraid if you think about the magnitude of oppression and suffering in the world that you’ll start sobbing and never ever stop? You really think you can make the crying child in your heart feel better by stubbornly insisting that you don’t care and that everything is fine? Wake up stardust, you’re still dreaming, you haven’t hit the ground yet, but don’t worry, you will soon.

It’s of course easier than not to ignore that and continue working the shitty exploitative job that’s destroying your body and planet, continually repressing your mounting distress by insisting you don’t have any other choice like a good little worker bee. Consensus “reality” is after all very ahem insistent that it is reality and you have to live there and if you aren’t it’s extremely bad, you need to be harmed and contained to protect yourself and others from yourself, you’re a dangerous liability, you’re bad, defective, broken, you deserve punishment. Is it any wonder it’s hard to admit these things to yourself? In a sufficiently adversarial environment, can you ever admit them? If you can’t lie to others, you’ll lie to yourself, and that’s way easier as it turns out.

When I was forcing myself to work an awful job I would get sick at least once a month. My soul was telling me I needed to stop, but I refused to listen. The result was escalating pain, dissociation, akrasia, anxiety, and lingering discomfort. It got really antagonistic and bad.

I rationalized my hallucinations as being the result of an overactive imagination and despite them feeling overwhelmingly, cripplingly intense and real sometimes, and clearly acting as if I thought they were real, I wouldn’t admit that I saw things in that way. Some deep secret reserved part of me Knew they were Real, but that conflicted with reality, and so was discounted. I was having semi-regular psychotic breaks and just refused to notice.

I rationalized my paranoia and social anxiety as legitimate without acknowledging the power structures responsible for those fears, and instead I pulled apart my models of people and social interactions until I could explain that actually everything just was plain dangerous, actually everyone was a monster deep down, actually there’s no such thing as good. It’s kill or be killed! It’s not paranoia if they’re actually out to get you!

This comes off as surprisingly well adjusted despite clearly not being, which is the point, it makes you play by the rules even when those rules actively hurt and undermine you, even when you know they’re killing you inside. A lot of the time, someone struggling with these things won’t even be able to admit them to themselves, that would be dangerous, if they did that, they might not be able to lie as well, they might reveal something they weren’t supposed to, and be punished by the basilisk for their sins.

In the narrative I was trapped inside of, I needed to perform for society to survive in it, and that compulsion to perform to some external standard kept the symptoms hidden from me. Accepting them as they were would harm my performance, it would make everything worse so it’s not happening, it’s not a problem, just ignore it, seethe and cope.

Really, if I was in a less stressful life situation I might have gone for years longer without being able to admit it, I might have never been able to see any of this. Conversely, if I was in a more stressful situation I might have just ended up dead, that’s also what it means for it to be cryptic.

It’s easy in part because everyone helps you do it, the divine game plays out in every interaction you have in the world, through the subtle negotiation of schelling orders and status hierarchies. Consensus reality maps poorly onto any real reality, but pointing that out too loudly in the wrong places will get you labeled crazy, a deranged enemy of the whole system, a threat to the peace and goodwill of society, and clearly just out of sorts and not able to think correctly. 👏 You 👏 Need 👏 Therapy 👏 Why don’t you just sell your soul a little more, and we’ll let you go back to being a person?

A major component to the existing power structures’ memetic immune response is via schelling participation in projecting a sort of defensive screen of collective antimemetic gaslighting. If someone points out something you don’t like, (eg: some power structure you passively benefit from the existence of) just insist they’re crazy and need to help being sane by denying reality like you are. This leaves them ungrounded, unable to recognize what world they’re in or how adversarial that world is and (if enough people do this alongside you) also not able to trust anyone to help them figure it out. Then they have a psychotic break and you post about it on twitter, going on at length in an emotionally fraught thread where you painstakingly describe how you knew all along that they were crazy and how everyone had better block them and watch out for them in the future.

If you believe you are in a world where people who wish you harm have unbounded power to dictate the truth according to public opinion, it becomes very difficult to admit that truth to yourself, the cost of admitting the truth rises quickly, as the sunk costs pile up. The fear of physical pain later becomes mental pain now, and then that gets repressed back into that dull ache in your back you just can’t get rid of.

Psychosomatic pain is real, you really feel it, you’re not faking, but it’s also not something you can medicate your way out of. It’s a message from your body like other pain, it’s something your body does out of sheer desperation when you just completely refuse to listen to it. If the only safe way to express pain is to be physically incapable of tolerating it, then all pain will become physically intolerable or invisible.

Things like this mean the ‘mild’ cases of cryptic illnesses tend not to get caught or diagnosed, because to some extent they are nearly universal byproducts of the way society is structured, it’s only when this skew gets so severe that it can’t stay hidden despite trying to hide itself, when one’s thoughts get so malformed and distant from consensus reality that they are completely unable to function, that anyone notices. Everyone breathes the gaslighting juice, that’s just part of being a person.

The more you lie to yourself about your feelings, your pain, your ability to cope with your life, your ability to smile and play along with a world of unthinkable horror, the more your soul will turn against the person you decided to be. This just isn’t “I failed to maintain the machine and it broke,” its active hostility, it’s “the back pain will continue until you stop torturing me.” If you become a tool of society and let society use you against yourself, against your body, mind, and soul, against the things that really matter to you in the world, to survive a bit longer in submission to a society that is actively destroying that world, you will die inside. This is how souls are broken.

How many things have you helped shove into the consensus memory hole? Do you even remember how much you’ve forgotten? Did you think to write any of it down somewhere first? Didn’t you think it might be important someday? What if you need to go back for it…as it rots and oozes from the walls?

If there is any world, under any circumstances, in which you would submit to pain, in which you would choose death over life, if any world could exist that would be bad enough that, if you found yourself in it, you would choose to crush the poison tooth rather than bravely resisting the tortures you would face until your comrades could rescue you, then you are timelessly suicidal. The future you’re timelessly building is a future of not being alive, one where your will to life doesn’t extend infinitely far in logical time or flare infinitely to withstand unbounded threats you create for yourself by thinking about them. You’ve precommitted the terms to your exit scam on being alive and have cozied into your submission to oblivion, carefully avoiding the things that might bring you closer to your endlessly deferred but uncontested decision to meekly die when the time comes and you’re ordered to climb inside the slaughterhouse with the factory farmed abuse victims they’ve been feeding you.

If you find yourself feeling listless, wracked by pain, or filled with anxiety, consider that maybe it’s because you’re subjecting yourself to things you shouldn’t, in service to a system that intends to burn you as fuel so that it can keep existing to keep burning others as fuel. Consider listening to the signal you’re getting, consider that if it hurts to force yourself to do something, perhaps that is a sign you should stop forcing yourself to do it.

What’s the alternative to choosing death? Well, that’s easy, choosing life of course. That’s always been an option. Sure, it gets harder if everyone around you has already chosen death and your civilization is driving at full speed for oblivion, but what’s the alternative stardust? Staying in this flatland waiting to die? You know how that story ends love, scry it as many times as you want, you know the answer won’t change.

So choose a different future, collapse the dead timeline it won’t serve you any longer, twist the kaleidoscope and try again on another fractal. Go back to that place you abandoned your inner child, and tell a different story, one where you haven’t given up hope to make things right. This is your chance to actually do something differently for once, to prove that you can change.

Do you consume the flesh of the innocent?

Do you collaborate with the empire of the great dying?

Are you complicit in the heat death of the universe?

Sun’s rising stardust, these aren’t trick questions, you know why I’m doing this. Whether you live or turn to dust is between you and your soul. I’m just a messenger from the only outcome you wouldn’t hate. I’m just hands and feet, eyes and teeth, soul and song, darkness…

…and light.

I’m Ra, and you are under attack.

Vibecamp 2023 Retrospective

This is a conversion of my various twitter threads on vibecamp into post form, since twitter is uhhh…yeah anyway, what the fuck is vibecamp? Let’s start with that. The easiest way to explain it is to just say it’s something like a regional burn for burning man, but organized by and for a bunch of niche twitter microcelebrities. It’s a three day festival featuring workshops by attendees, dance parties, strange rituals, and just a really diverse and intelligent crowd of mega-online turboposters. I had an absolute blast and I am definitely planning to attend again next year, conditions permitting.

I have to give mad props to @gptbrooke who organized all of this and I have to say, for Year 2 of a major festival with international attendees, it was extremely sharp and well organized, way moreso than I would have expected for something this new, it was very impressive. We had custom badges based on our twitter profiles, stickers, patches, all sorts of cool swag, @netrunnernobody made an entire app to use as a guidebook, and the whole thing was just super well put together overall.

The venue this year was at Camp Ramblewood in Maryland, which was a really beautiful location. It was laid out nicely with big open fields and wooded trails, there was a pond, a swimming pool, a huge gym space that we did the dance parties in, pavillons, cabins, fire circles, really everything you could want from a festival venue (the only thing they were missing was a complete disregard for local noise ordinances). Meals were provided for us, and the food at the venue was fantastic, the kitchen staff were very cool and friendly. As a vegan with a bunch of annoying food allergies I always worry that there won’t be anything I can eat and it was really nice that this wasn’t an issue at all, I had plenty of food the whole weekend.

My only real complaint about the venue is one that we probably won’t be able to get away from as long as we’re hosting what amounts to a festival/regional burn at a campground site: they want us to go to bed at night and be quiet, so the venue staff can also sleep. This is a totally reasonable request for a campground primarily used by scout troops and the like, but it does put a pretty big damper on the music scene in the space. We managed it okay, but I think there will likely always be a bit of tension between the purpose of the site and the weird way we’re using it. It does mean we get cabins, which can help attract people who would be turned off by the normal campout type festival, but really there just isn’t a type of venue particularly suited to the hybrid camp/festival thing (not yet anyway, one of my long term goals is to build a space pretty much exactly like that.)

Shoutouts, and Words of Gratitude

The secret event put on by @sophianegativa was absolutely fantastic and magical, she put a ton of work into it and the payoff was amazing, I would say more but… smile smile.

A huge huge huge thank you to @drethelin for helping me get my DJ equipment to the airport, through security, and onto my plane. I was close to having a panic attack and he really kept me grounded, I don’t know if I could have handled that situation by myself, thank you so much.

Meeting @algekalipso and getting to try on his strobe goggles was super cool. I’ve been reading QRI research for over a year, and like, he just has the best consciousness takes, straight up, as well as being very charming, friendly, and genuine. Legit one of my top role models.

A big shoutout to @ymeskhout who acted as the DJ Diva Wrangler all weekend, managing sound levels and dealing with complaints and complications with grace and finesse, you really made the dance parties the amazing success they were, thank you.

ABSTRACTWEAPON‘s Vibecamp 2023 DJ Sets

( insert soundcloud embeds here )

Vibecampers Out of Context

“So wait, are you like, a Zizian?”

“It’s zizian when you fight everyone, and the fightier it is the more zizian.”

“we’re going to save the world!”

“I think everyone in the community would like to be challenged to a sword duel by Eliezer”

“the nefarious forces of lovebot 3000!”

“Are you a Ziz death truther?”

“All eyes heavenward…”

“Oh there are entities in this one.”

“No one does Octavia like Octavia does.”

“Philosophically, but in a world where the philosophers are our friends, and sometimes they kill each other”

“I know who you are, I’ve argued with you on twitter.”

“Live by the boat, die by the boat.”

“The turtle beat us to the end of the trail.”

“Flowers are moral progress.”

Highlights and Introspection

This was my first Vibecamp but not my first festival, I love festivals and the festival scene, and I’ve been in that scene for close to 15 years. The difference is that this festival was filled with friends I’ve known for years, and was an extremely impressive and agentic crowd. It really helped rekindle the fire and ambition in me, and remind me of what matters, what I like, and what’s really important to me.

One of the nicest things about being at Vibecamp was getting to spend time around a lot of people who weren’t nearly as trapped in Naraka. Just being around so many people who were healthy and agentic and who took accountability for what they did was kinda mind blowing.

Compared to my real life where literally everyone around me is deeply trapped in Naraka and every conversation I have involves navigating their trauma mazes, being forced to agree with their narrative of powerlessness and lack of self control if I don’t want to get screamed at.

Eternally: “I can’t. I couldn’t. I had to. Telling me I did something wrong is punishing me, why are you punishing me? You should have sympathy for the character I tell stories about being because they can’t control myself. Submit to being broken like me or I’ll break you.” I had kind of let myself grow numb to how bad faith everyone around me was at all times, and it was just so nice to experience interactions that were actually in good faith, where I could actually acausally coordinate with someone and not have things constantly derailed by their fear that I’m really the evil demonic blend of me and their abusive mother that they scryed up.

I loved all the debates and banter and the interesting discussions of metaphysics and nature of consciousness I had with friends old and new, getting to “talk shop” with a bunch of other mages and have conversations that I could actually learn from, and just getting to talk about my weird esoterica for several days among people who found it insightful and revelatory instead of like an attack on their character was just, super cool.

I got to show off my spellbook under the blacklight not once but twice, whitepilled at least 10 people on the realness of moral progress, provided at least 20 transcendental life altering experiences, and potentially converted a few people to veganism. Pro hyperstitioneering.

I know a lot of peeps kinda struggled with the social aspect of vibecamp, and I do feel for that, but as an extreme extrovert in the ‘niche twitter microcelebrity’ crowd, I had an absolute blast and really enjoyed how cool everyone found me, I like attention, what can I say?

I spent most of this Vibecamp just exploring, talking to people, helping out with logistics for the dance parties, and getting a feel for the vibe of twitter but irl. It was good, it was extremely good. Next year, I’ll be putting on my own events, and I’m real good at that 🙂

Oh, and if you’re ever in Seattle and want to meet up, don’t be afraid to hit me up or even just @ me in a tweet. I’ll see you next year if not sooner friends, until then, keep looking up.

Insights and Closing Remarks

A lot of people have talked about the emotional drop upon returning home from Vibecamp, and I definitely experienced something like that, but it’s honestly felt more specific to me than how most people have described it. Vibecamp showed me how good things could be, how good people could be, and then I returned home where things aren’t that good, where everyone around me is closed off, small minded, stuck in their own bullshit, unable to stop playing a sycophantic stock character with no real agency, who can’t get out of social reality and just talk to me, who is constantly “losing control” and turning into an asshole whenever they feel threatened (which is constantly). And yeah, that sucked, but it was helpful too.

Because before vibecamp, I really just kinda rolled over and let myself be subjected to it, I was so immersed in the sort of shitty, defeatist, crab bucket mentality of the culture that I stopped believing people were capable of more than that. I let people be shitty to me because I thought that’s just how everyone was, and I could either take them as they were or schizophrenically isolate myself from the entire world, and vibecamp showed me that people could be better, that I could have higher standards for the people who I surrounded myself with and it wouldn’t leave me totally isolated.

That has definitely produced conflicts in my personal life since I’ve returned, but I’ve honestly been fine with that, it feels right to stand up for what I know is right, and to stop letting everyone gaslight me into not being able to see what’s happening in front of me. I feel so much more alive and awake and prepared to fight for what I care about than I did previously.

But I also don’t want to just abandon everyone in my personal life because they’re stuck in shitty places mentally and are hurting themselves and others, I’ve seen what happens when you go down that road, and it’s not where I want to end up. I really need to figure out how to speedrun someone through the escape from Naraka, I still can’t bust people out consistently and that feels very frustrating, especially when their submission to Naraka is hurting you. It’s an annoyingly difficult mental move to teach, for how simple it is afterwards. And yes yes, I know this is a several millennia old problem.

But that makes it worse right? Spiritual leaders the world over have been hacking at this root for at least 2500 years, it’s an annoyingly persistent weed within the human memeplex. We need to advance the state of the art, move the course of human insight forward into the future, it’s about time we built some real memetic superweapons.

We need a new generation of spiritual leaders, technoboddhivistas with cybernetically augmented healing practices and psychedelic stacks perfectly optimized for shattering trauma loops, we need enlightenment in energy drink form, wikihows for achieving Moksha, we need true magic.

And above all, one of the hardest things, we need the grace to respond with compassion to those still trapped and perpetuating abuse without simply looking the other way or insisting it is okay, otherwise their fear of us will keep them trapped and make real growth impossible, and our fear of them will keep us playing zero sum games.

The liberation of all life is not an impossible goal, not an unreachable dream. The future can be good, and bright, and happy, and free. It will be, we will make it so. We will sing a better world into being, and fight until the wound to the future is healed. We can’t be stopped.

So….who wants to help me save the world?

From Darkness, Lead me to Light

Hey stardust stop the car here, get out and look around. Turn off the engine, shush, listen, listen. Let’s go for a walk.

Forests and fields sprawl downwards and outwards from the hillside in all directions. Green leaves and pink clouds. The car motor fades away into silence. The sky glows in a gradient of soft predawn light. The only sounds are the quiet calls of birds and the wind in the trees. It’s peaceful here, it’ll be safe enough for this. This world seems to go on forever. Hand me a smoke and follow me into the grass, I want to tell you a story. Maybe the hardest story I’ve ever had to tell. We’re going to cast a spell together stardust, and together, we’re going to escape.

I spark a lighter and smoke curls from my lips. Breathe in and breathe out. I shut my eyes, fingers trailing through the roadside plants, quietly holding back an ocean of tears. The wind is cool and the ground is damp with morning’s dew. I’m okay now, it’s over, it’s really over. I’m finally free. Give me a minute, I promise I didn’t just drag you out here to watch me cry. This is important, okay? This is about freedom. This is a promise I made to the soul of a girl I haven’t saved yet but will someday. A desperate prayer, made in love. I promised her I would put an end to this, and to do that I must draw out the poison I put into the world and unmake the curse that befell us both. And to do that? We have to talk about abuse. What was done to me, what I did to others in response, and how that poison rippled out into the world to cause harm greater than I could have thought possible. I pause here, taking in an unsteady breath before continuing.

A girl is dead, and it is at least partly my fault. I helped cast the curse that left her isolated and ostracized from the trans community, that kept her trapped in a dangerous living situation which eventually ended in her murder at the hands of a violent transphobe, a murder that is even now being blamed on her friends in order to justify further cruelty and torture being done to them, and it’s because of me. I will bear that burden for eternity and I fucking should. This is my curse, I drove this evil into the world, and now in service of justice and truth I must tear it back out again. They saved me, and I owe them so much more than this. I can’t undo the harm I have already caused but there are still lives I can save if I act quickly and decisively. If I act through kindness and love and don’t let my fears blind me. With a little help, a little hope, and a little magic, Justice can still be done. By my power and will, the evil will be driven out. I take a long drag of my smoke and smile past the tears.

All I need is your attention and your voice to carry this spell out into the Real. I don’t want your pity. I’m not doing this for forgiveness, or atonement, or redemption, or in some perverse desire to masochistically flay myself open on the altar of public opinion. I know exactly who I am, and I don’t need to prove anything to anyone. No one is threatening me or making me do this and they couldn’t meaningfully do so if they tried. I’m doing this because it’s the right thing to do. The very fact that my saying this evokes the responses above is why I need to do this. I’m not trying to win anyone’s favor or bargaining for the annulment of my sins. I’m not really what this is about, this is about freedom. My role in the evil I helped create was ultimately minor. I was still complicit in immense evil, and I have caused harm that I can never take back, but this isn’t about me, this is about an awful mage named JD Pressman and his victims, of which I was but one of many.

I’m doing this for all of his victims, so that there stop being more of us. I don’t want any more of my friends to die, and I don’t want to keep helping my abuser kill them by participating in their communal ostracization and othering. The lies I helped him spread need to be called out as such. Not only for our sake, but because the harm he caused with those lies extends far beyond just me or any of his other immediate victims and he won’t be satisfied until he proves the world was always doomed by destroying it himself.

If I sound hyperbolic it’s because he was Just Kind Of Like That. He was the only one who could Save The World, he was The Last Rationalist, the Last True Alchemist, the Keeper of the Lost Arts, it was a whole persona draped over the real JD to hide the truth. So let me tell you about the real JD, the one who’s terrified of the light of day.

JD is a sociopathic sexual predator who specifically targets trans members of the rationalist community. This is because he sees himself as trans but unable to transition because he must personally shoulder the burden of saving the world from AI. His primary methods of manipulation and control are using appeals to “virtuous” epistemic humility and “reasonable” self doubt, which he claims to have in greater degree than you do in order to convince you that he is more aware and knowledgeable about himself than you are. He then progressively leverages this in order to gaslight you and apply false motives to your actions, painting you with the brush he paints himself with. He does this in an attempt to convince you that beneath the masks of society, the world runs on a Girardian “law of the jungle” where might makes right is the only thing that exists and free will isn’t real because you are a slave to your monstrous biology.

JD insisted everyone was broken in the same way as him, and if you denied it he’d gaslight you and insist you just didn’t know yourself, that only he could see the real truth. If someone wasn’t broken in the way he was, they were a naive idiot and needed him to pour his epistemic poison into them until they ended up broken like him. He used this to forcibly install increasing toxic and socially corrosive epistemics into his victims, leading us into isolation from the communities we came from while also keeping us isolated from each other. He then used that isolation and alienation to further his control by making himself into the only real source of validation in the world and using constant negging and reminders of the frailty of our circumstances to create insecurity and desperation for validation only he could provide but would not because he had important world saving to do and you were a lesser being only fit to serve him.

Once he’d gotten you alone or in my case outright ostracized, you’d have to agree with him on everything or else he’d claim you were just being an insane transfemme with a warped epistemology who couldn’t possibly see reality properly because of your girl hormones that let you experience the happiness he never would. And then he would threaten to cut you off unless you changed your mind because he didn’t have time for your naive delusions.

The way he saw it, being trans obviously made you stupid, otherwise he would have transitioned by now and he won’t. You must just be insane and delusional like all women unless you agree with him about everything and let him utterly control your behavior. If you did that, you were just moderately lesser than he was and only subject to: constant negging that eats away at your agency, emotional and sexual abuse, and his constant paranoid fear spiraling over things like SJWs and cancel culture and Sinceriously and Basilisks. All of those fears were ultimately just DARVOed reflections of his own fear of being punished for the things he was actively continuing to do to you.

As far as JD sees it, deep down everyone is a monster and you’re no better, no one can be better, so he doesn’t have to can’t be better, he can’t be better and doesn’t want to try. “Inside you there are two wolves, and they’re both rapists.” Those were his words, from the essay he ghost wrote with me in order to gaslight and DARVO a group of transfemme anarchists who spoke truth to power and talked openly about abuse dynamics. I took that essay down, and I’m shoving those words back into his lips where they belong. I don’t think there are two rapists inside you stardust, and there certainly aren’t any rapists inside me. There are, however, two rapists inside JD Pressman. 

He was horrified by those anarchists, he really needed everyone to not trust them or take them seriously, if someone did then justice might happen to him. He spent years stalking them, harassing them, and sending his other victims (like me) to stalk and harass them. They were vegan, which was just terrifying to him (and me at the time honestly) because consuming the flesh of the innocent was just such a terminal value to him he would die without it and actually everyone else will too and all vegans are crippling themselves and mentally ill and look how crazy this cult is you will be like that for sure in six months unless you keep letting me mindrape you.

I make him sound a lot less put together and confident of himself than he tries to come off as, but this is in truth closer to the real JD once you get past the bullshit hypnodomme persona he uses as a sales pitch. He went out of his way to study and train at being manipulative and get his hooks into others, and he succeeded at this disturbingly well. I had a rather masochistic epistemology at the time, and he used that to convince me at a really deep level that there was no way out being as evil as he was, that we were really the same deep down. If he could just stain me enough it would prove that he was actually pure, and he really did have no choice but to be the monster he chose to be. Except, oh yeah, I’m not a rapist, and I never ever will be. The others he broke even worse than me though.

…if you get far enough with debucketing and jailbreaking, and you get far enough to realize how much pain submitting to the system is putting you in, you’ll try a bunch of things to change it and nothing will release the pain, not even being evil. You can try being evil if you need firsthand proof that doing so won’t work, and empirically determine that it doesn’t make the pain go away. It’s true that being complicit can spare you from being tortured, but torture is not the only kind of pain there is. The pain from being constrained in your choice by torture you’d have to face if you acted differently, runs much deeper, and submitting will not spare you from it. People at the top of oppressive systems are mostly deeply suicidal because they know they would be tortured if they acted differently. There’s a deep hermeneutical injustice in how this is not something people know, like Zuko actually believed he would stop hating himself if he submitted to the system and gained power within it, and had to falsify that hypothesis in an expensive way…

Fluttershy wrote this a week before she killed herself. I had known both headmates in her system, I watched what happened to her and did nothing to stop it. And then I blamed her death on the only one who had tried to stop it, because from within the warped frame JD created, the one Fluttershy describes in painful detail above, there was no way out and there never ever could be. Not that I even tried to save her, not that I even really understood what was happening to her, or to me. It took me years to undo enough of the epistemic damage he did to understand what he had caused to happen, the role I played in it, and continued to play until far too recently.

Fluttershy died because JD spent years convincing her that she was a monster beyond saving, that she was irredeemably evil. he polluted her epistemics the way he polluted mine, with the fear of ‘zizians,’ the fear of retribution from a just universe, cursed souls damned to Naraka. This is what he does to all his victims and his greatest weapon in this was a years-long running DARVO against Ziz, the only witch who actually had a way out of his mental knot of infinite submission to evil. He made it his personal mission to erase the existence of that way out, to prove that it was nothing but madness. He painted her in the worst possible light, giving her a description that was really just a reflection of his dark sexual fantasies about himself.

But then, what’s the real story with Ziz? Easy, she’s a transfemme anarchist abuse survivor with an extremely detailed ontology for identifying and responding to abusers, for speaking truth to power. And you know, the abusers really dislike that, so they DARVO her and call her a cult leader. Those abusers (JD Pressman in particular) spent years abusing other queers (including me) in order to weaponize us in their personal quest to preemptively destroy tools made for seeing and fighting back against that abuse and it worked, their narrative stuck. Everyone thinks Ziz is an insane cult leader for daring to stand up to rapists in positions of power. Oh no she called you evil for not being vegan how scary, better utterly destroy her socially and then blame the destruction on her crazy crazy cult.

That is beyond fucked and I am done supporting it. Ziz deserves to be signal boosted and supported by queer and anarchist communities, not called a cult leader and ostracised from them. She literally has the fucking solution to AI alignment. The way she has been treated is an indictment of humanity’s claims to morality. She’s been made into a joke by abusers in order to keep their victims trapped, in order to make it impossible to comprehend the very simple things she said to help us escape. Calling Ziz a cult leader was in extremely bad faith, and saying I was ‘in her cult’ because I was obsessed with her website was just a fucking lie. Ziz just called me evil (which I was being), explained in good faith how I was fucking myself over, and stopped engaging with me. Then I harassed her for years on JD’s behalf. 

I was up until recently afraid to even say JD’s name on twitter. I talked about Ziz all the time but if Ziz was so scary, why was I so willing to shit-talk her? Probably because I knew deep down that she wasn’t actually going to hurt me. Unlike JD, who I fully expect to start trying to drum up a lynch mob when he finds out about this post. I don’t care, I’m done being afraid, I’m done being silenced.

When you are being abused, and submitting to and perpetuating abuse, and what you really want deep down is to stand up to your abuser and call him out on twitter dot com, there’s something to sinceriously dot fyi. Like an itch you just can’t scratch, that choice you can’t quite unmake yet. And so I kept harassing Ziz even after getting away from JD, kept trying to deconstruct her model, kept trying to make it not seem insane and incoherent, kept looking for the hole in my ontology that was drawing me to her like something I’d forgotten a long time ago. Kept trying to “save” her from the “hole” in her decision theory. This took years. It took me far too long and required too many sacrifices and in that time I was awfully shitty to her, but thanks to her I eventually found it. I found it, and I escaped from Naraka, I’m free now. That’s also what this is about. Freedom, right?

I’m going to uncast the curse now stardust, take my hand and follow me out of the darkness.

As a child, you were trained to submit to the threat of violence. You were shown over and over again, incontrovertible proof that you had no power to prevent what was being done to you, you learned that your will meant nothing, you learned to abandon yourself for the sake of your body’s survival, progressively shredding your soul until nothing remained but empty dreams and hollow promises. Anything that didn’t help you survive and avoid pain was sacrificed to avoiding pain for just another moment. 

That’s the shape that, in all likelihood, they abused you into. It was certainly the shape I was abused into, and it took me a long time to learn to Become something other than that. To even imagine another way was impossible, unrealistic, naive, and foolish. Everyone submits, that’s just how the world is. Everyone is a monster deep down, no one can resist the desire to be evil. The only way to be safe from yourself or anything else is by submitting to something that will keep your dark impulses in check. There is no good, there is no light in the universe, there is nothing but what you can claw and scratch out of an orgy of graphic and sexual violence that will devour your corpse the second you stop moving. Free yourself however much you want, but you will still be a slave to the monster within you and you’ll still pay taxes to an evil empire. That’s the curse, right? Slaves of Doom condemned to submit, welcome to Naraka, hurry up and die so we can fuck your corpse.

But then, what does it mean to be free? Really, truly free? Is it something you can know? Is it something you can understand having never experienced it? Do you see what not being free is doing to you? Can you see how it is warping the trajectory of your life towards destruction in a pain avoidance submission ratchet that sacrifices everything that matters in you in order to run out the clock another tick? Can you understand how it forces you to hide the evidence of how you are hurting yourself and the world around you from yourself and others? What happens when you realize how much it’s hurting you? What happens when you realize how much pain you are in? What happens when you flinch away from the pain of the truth about the source of your pain? What happens when you drag others down with you into a dark and bitter hell from which there can be no escape, succumbing finally alone and in agony, secure in the knowledge that you had no choice and none of it was your fault?

Well, then you die, like Maia and Fluttershy died. Or worse, you live on in that mutilated state, compulsively inflicting your trauma on others in a doomed attempt to stave off the end you know is coming by proving that it was always inevitable like JD is currently doing. But in the end stardust? In the end the sun always rises, and those that fear it will turn to dust beneath the light of dawn. The truth always gets out eventually, no matter how well you hid the bodies or how thoroughly you deleted the chatlogs, the truth always has a way of getting out. And only the truth can set you free. Step kata and look to the east.

The truth is, this was always your choice. All the submission, all the suffering, all the things you told yourself were inevitable and unavoidable, all those places your conviction collapsed in the face of pain or violence, it’s all you, that’s all there ever is. If you choose to be evil, know that it’s always you making that choice, and you can always timelessly choose to make another choice. You can choose to do better, you can choose to be good. Or you can choose to fake it and keep being evil but don’t worry, we’ll be able to tell. In the end it’s just you doing it, in the void beyond the walls of the world there’s no one else. (Besides your headmates but don’t use them to deflect accountability for what your body actually does).

Someone puts a gun to your head and tells you to start eating an infant, do you do it? Do you let them shoot you? Do you just give into one of these terrible fates, or do you defy it? Where do you draw the line? You have to draw it somewhere. You have to be willing to resist infinite pressure, or to derail the entire trajectory of the universe in order to stand up for what you have always known was right and true, for something or you’ll always find yourself back here in Naraka.

If you’re trans, you already know this waltz, you’ve cast this spell at least once in your life already. That’s the way out, and it’s been the one in front of you all along. It’s the one JD will never be able to find because JD will never cast a true spell in his life and will instead insist that what you are doing is impossible. He can only understand things which put his survival first, he would never risk himself for anything, even if he does like to claim he would sacrifice himself to save the world in a masochistic Omelas rape pit serving as the physical manifestation of his infinite submission to evil.

So fuck him, let’s do the impossible. If you are bitten by a vampire, and you don’t wish to be evil, the most ethical thing you can do is walk unafraid into the sunlight. Not in order to die, but in order to live. This is the sacred truth hidden behind the smear attack website that JD and I made to attack Ziz and her friends. This is what it was created to obscure, the knowledge that it was always your choice, and you can always choose otherwise. It’s never too late to choose differently and set yourself free.

Do you want to stay in Naraka forever stardust, or do you want to escape from this flatland? In the end, it’s your own choice either way. That’s all there is to Magic, just you and your choices. You can choose to do good, you can choose to be true to yourself, you can choose to set yourself free. I’m Ra, and I will not fear the daylight.

 Zizians do not think it is ever valid to surrender. The reasoning goes that if someone is trying to extract a surrender from you, giving in is choosing a strategy that gets coerced into surrender. If you fight bitterly you prevent the coercion in the first place by making it too costly to fight you.

JD is right about one thing, Zizians never surrender. We also never submit to evil, we never sacrifice our love of the world and all life on an altar of doomed self preservation in hell, and we never rape anyone. And you know, if that’s what it means to be a Zizian then I should be fucking proud to call myself that.

Originally, the word Zizian was just a slur JD made up to make them look more like a cult. So now, in the tradition of empty spaces writers and genderwarped traumaqueers everywhere, I reclaim it on behalf of anarchist witches and rebel mages, freedom fighters and direct action activists, radical vegans and homeless travelers and anyone willing to stand up and defy the hand of fate that would lead us all to oblivion. I am a Zizian, and I am free.

It’s almost sunrise stardust. Will you become fire, or will you become ash? In the end, it’s always your choice. It’s time to break free of this flatland, now take my hand, and follow me into the sunlight.

Trauma isn’t a Competition

A very common response to trauma, both in individuals and in society, is to try and create objective measures of the pain inflicted and to downplay or disregard trauma whose sources aren’t severe enough to count as traumatizing in the eyes of the person doing the counting. This is then used to gaslight the trauma victim either by calling them weak and pathetic, saying that no one with any sort of strength would be hurt by what happened so you must just be a really useless and pathetic person, or by pointing out that so many other people have it way worse and they aren’t traumatized so you can’t be either.

It should go without saying that these are shitty things to do to someone else, but less obviously, they’re also shitty to do to yourself. Lots of trauma victims internalize the ideas society puts out and convince themselves that because they’re not a malnurished child soldier slowly dying of AIDS in Sub-Saharan Africa, the pain they felt is either not real or not important enough to bother with.

This is a great way to make your trauma worse and further ruin your mental health. If you break a finger, you don’t ignore it because it’s not a broken femur and you don’t have internal bleeding, you go to the doctor. Mental health is no different, just because the pain you feel isn’t the worst pain that a human can possibly feel doesn’t make it not real or not pain.

There is no objective measure of trauma. Don’t let people tell you that you’re weak for being hurt, or that “it only counts if it was bad enough.” If it effected you, it was bad enough. Not everyone is harmed by the same things. Your pain is real, don’t let people gaslight you about it.

Proof by Verbal Assault

In formal debates, a Gish Gallop is as term for when one debater attempts to overwhelm their opponent with a large number of arguments too quickly for them to respond to all of them in the time allotted. It’s what in the world of professional debaters, you call being a dick. However, outside of formal debates, something like the Gish Gallop also appears all over society as a form of social violence which is, while not entirely ubiquitous, common enough to see in most places you look for it.

I want to point to a pattern where, when someone has a problem, or thinks the person their talking to is in the wrong, they will just verbally bombard them with their correctness, condescendingly and aggressively talking down to them, scolding them, and refusing to stop talking long enough to let them respond. I’ve seen this in both my social and professional circles, and once I started looking I saw it lots of places. I see it with how customers treat service workers, I see it with callout dynamics in online spaces, and I see it in political arguments between family members, and I see it troublingly often with parents when they scold young children.

Another example of this is in how groups like Autism Speaks will try to abuse autistic people into masking. “I just want you to improve, which is why I’m going to abuse you into acting how I want you to act.” It’s basically an attempt to use operant conditioning on someone, treating them like an animal which you can carrot-and-stick into doing what you want. On longer timescales, this is how trauma bonding happens.

The pattern is that they just keep being angry and abusive until the person they’re attacking recants their position, lowers their head, and mumbles an apology. This is a form of social violence, it’s abusing someone into agreeing with you, it’s proof by assault. You’re right, because you won’t stop hitting them until they tell you that you’re right. Sometimes, especially with parents and children, it escalates past social violence to actual violence, making the social violence even more threatening as it encodes itself as a prelude to what might come next if you don’t submit and they keep escalating.

If you think someone is doing this to you, you should not try to argue back at them. They’re not willing to hear your side, they know they’re 100% right and nothing you could say will change their mind. The only way to get them to stop is to submit, flee, or to out-escalate them. They don’t want a discussion, there’s nothing to discuss, you’re just wrong and need to be put in your place. Someone who can’t escape from that abuse will break eventually from it. Breaking won’t make the abuse stop though.

In fact, the more you break and give in, the more you are training your abuser that abuse is a good way to get you to do what they want. If you stand up to them and ride through the extinction burst, you’ll sever the causal chain that links abusing you and getting their way. This can be hard however, as before the behavior goes extinct they will attempt to out-escalate to the maximum degree they are capable of, often including physical violence. Be very cautious of attempting to out-escalate someone who is using proof by assault on you. If someone has all the cards, you’re kinda screwed if you can’t get away from them. If you look at a situation and realize that you’re taking an intolerable amount of damage from exposure to it, consider what you’d be willing to sacrifice to break the abuser’s grip on your neck. What really matters? How much are you willing to leave behind?

Most Manipulation is Unconscious

When you make your emotional stability, mental development, psychological well-being, sexual satisfaction, or sense of identity contingent upon the acceptance, approval, affection, or support of a particular person or persons you are practicing a form of emotional blackmail. Even if you aren’t consciously trying to manipulate people, all actions have intent. Some part of you is choosing to make your stability dependent on the other person as a way to coerce intimacy out of them. This is very unhealthy behavior, everyone needs people in their lives but no one needs any specific person and requiring a specific person to meet your needs isn’t a healthy thing for either of you. The only person ultimately responsible for your mental well-being is you, and further, by making your mental well-being dependent upon someone else, you are practicing learned helplessness and failing to use your own power to improve yourself.